We’ve been exploring for some time how algae might be the answer to our carbon-cycle woes. And now it’s clear that we were on to something: Exxon is into algae!
You know it’s right when it’s in the NYT (that’s still right, right?), and now the paper’s announcing “Exxon to Invest Millions to Make Fuel From Algae.” The quote from Exxon VP Emil Jacobs shows why the firm’s PR folks need to try harder:
We literally looked at every option we could think of, with several key parameters in mind. Scale was the first. For transportation fuels, if you can’t see whether you can scale a technology up, then you have to question whether you need to be involved at all. . . . I am not going to sugarcoat this — this is not going to be easy.
Still, we have to admire the forthrightness of a company that says, hey, we’re trying this, but we’re not really sure it will work. (Couldn’t Emil just say that? No, I’m not angling for an Exxon PR job. Just trying to be helpful.)
Meanwhile, the Obama administration just announced the availability of $85 million for research into algae biofuels. That sounds like a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t represent a World War II-like level of effort on climate change. But still, it’s a start.